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Sanahin 5: Bell Tower (9). Book Depository (5), Gallery (6)

Bell Tower (9)

The Bell Tower at Sanahin, along with that at Haghpat, is the earliest structure of this type in Armenia. It is a three-story tower with small annexes and a multi-columned belfry at the top. Sanahin's bell tower was built between 1211 and 1235. Its western façade has a large ornate cross using red tufa. It is further decorated with ornamental windows, crosses and yellow sandstone spheres.

Book Depository (5), Gallery (6)

The book (relic) depository and gallery are among the most interesting buildings at Sanahin, showing a high level of civil architecture at the time. As a rule such structures were built away from the main churches, were square and had niches for keeping manuscripts, with special attention paid to the design of the roof. Sanahin's depository was erected in 1063, with the support of queen H'ranush, daughter of David Anhoghin. Its large octahedral tent roof rests on diagonal arches set on half columns in each wall.

The current monastery spring-well (15) next to the northern wall of the complex, was built in 1831, and is still in use. Another in the village dates to the 12th-13th cc. and is a vaulted hall with a double-arch opening.

Original text edited by ICOMOS-Armenia and approved by the Holy See of Echmiadzin.